Friday, September 10, 2010

Potato Gnocchi with Tomato and Pancetta Sauce

First a little background. I have this cat. Kramer, aka the world's best cat. He has been for over 3 weeks now, waking me up at around 3:45 to 4am. He taps at my nose and meows. He does this at 5 minute intervals. Granted I love waking up to see his cute little face but not at that hour. He has a few health issues so needless to say he is spoiled rotten... but he is so cute.

Okay so today I am tired. Luckily I am working from home. I have no idea what I am making for dinner but all I know is that I do not want to run to the store for anything. I look and see that I have potatoes which means I can make gnocchi! I have pancetta and tomatoes and basil which could be the sauce. At lunch I popped the potatoes in the oven to bake. I was finished work by 5:30 and by 7pm we were enjoying a wonderful meal. Chris helped with the sauce, he is better at seasoning things than I am.

So I was looking through La Cucina and all the gnocchi recipes have you boil the potatoes. The recipe I use says to bake them. So that is what I did, it also required less hands on time. The recipe I used is from "From Biba's Italian Kitchen." Biba use to be on the local PBS station and my mom and I use to watch her. My mom gave me her cookbook and actually I think it was the last cookbook she gave me... hmmm. Anyway it is a great cookbook to have in your collection. The recipe is so easy.

Basic Potato Gnocchi

4 large boiling potatoes
1 tbsp salt
1 large egg, beaten in a small bowl
1 1/2 to 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and dry the potatoes. With a knife, make a long, deep incision in the potatoes. Put the potatoes in the oven and bake until they are tender, about 1 hour.
When cool enough to handle, peel potatoes and put them through a potato ricer or mash them with a fork. Put potatoes into a large bowl and season with salt. Add the egg and 1 1/2 cups of flour. Mix the potatoes, egg and the flour together with your hands until the dough begins to stick together.
Transfer the mixture to a wooden board and knead lightly, gradually adding the remaining flour if the dough sticks heavily to the board and to your hands. Knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes until it is smooth and pliable and just a bit sticky. Divide the dough into several equal pieces. Flour your hands lightly, using both hands, roll out each piece of dough with a light back and forth motion into a roll about the thickness of your index finger. Cut each roll into 1-inch pieces.
Hold fork with its tines against a work board, the curved part of the fork facing away from you. Starting from the curved outside bottom of the fork, press each piece of dough with your index finger firmly upward along the length of the tines. Let the gnocchi fall back onto the work surface. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough until all the gnocchi have been formed. Place the gnocchi on a lightly floured platter or cookie sheet. they can be cooked immediately or stored in the refrigerator, uncovered, for several hours.

The sauce was made by heating up some olive oil and adding diced onions and pancetta. Those were browned and then we added a knob of butter, black pepper, tomatoes and basil. The cooked Gnocchi were added to the pan and dinner was served!


Velva said...

Kramer is a cutie!

I like gnocchi but, have never attempted to make it-Maybe, I should just a bring a bottle of wine, pull-up a chair and join you for dinner, This dish looks wonderful.

Mary Bergfeld said...

What a wonderful treat! Kramer is curiously cute :-). I love gnocchi but I don't have a good recipe for them. I may have solved that problem with your post. I love the food you feature here. I'll be back often. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary